Guidance for Volunteering During Lockdown
As you know, in Northern Ireland we have moved once again into a period of tighter restrictions in an attempt to reduce the transmission of COVID -19 within our community. Volunteer Now is therefore updating their guidance in terms of what this means for volunteering (click here to view). We are asking volunteer involving organisations to consider the regulations guidance very carefully to see how they might apply to their own volunteer roles. In particular, the message from Government is very clear that we should all stay at home where possible. From 8 January 2021 you can only leave home with a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as for medical or food needs, exercise and work that cannot be done from home. Notably the guidelines state that you can leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
As organisations, you will have to decide if your volunteering roles need to be carried out during this period and how they can be completed while adhering to all the specific regulations. Organisations will need to use a risk assessment process to support their decision making and to manage the risk. Organisations will also need to talk to volunteers about continuing to volunteer if they feel comfortable to do so, providing them with all the relevant information from the guidelines about social distancing, numbers that can meet outdoors, households and bubbles, safety measures. Those considered as clinically extremely vulnerable should not be volunteering outside the home. The new regulations guidance can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you